The University of Turku has a community of 14 000 students. Starting studies in the university brings new pressures. Many of us struggle with high expectations, exhaustion and financial issues. For the past 1.5 years, student well-being and mental health have gotten lots of media coverage and there is a good reason for that. More than a year of distance learning has caused a further decline in student well-being. Many studies conducted during the Covid-19 period highlight the fact that the sense of togetherness has diminished and loneliness has increased among university students.
The second period has now begun at the university and we have come back to campuses. Now, we have an opportunity to build our sense of community stronger.
Communality is an important factor in the daily lives of university students. It promotes the well-being and mental health of students. Also, it enables networking with future colleagues. Study time is a unique stage in life so the support of the surrounding community is important.
When I started my university studies I considered the university mainly as a school where I study from eight to four and then go on with the rest of the day. However, right from the first week the lecturer noted that students, teachers and professors are colleagues. Their academic age only varies. I realized that the university is not a school, but an academic community where we create new perspectives and take science forward. It became clear to me that the community I had entered is unique. Science is done together.
The student community is important because it supports you and helps in everyday life when things are not going as planned. In the office of your own organization, you can unleash your own feelings in a safe environment where you can still get peer support. Older students can share their experience and tell wild stories about their studying years. You can learn from them.
Your tutor group can be the best group of friends you’ve ever had and last for the rest of your life. Friends carry through life. They are genuinely interested in sharing both joys and sorrows. Friends can be trusted. They can find right words in a difficult situation and they offer their time to listen your worries.
There is strength in the community and it allows us to cope with any situation as long as we remember to talk. It can be difficult to chat about embarrassing experiences or difficult moments. But it’s worth it because the community is gold!
However, it is possible to feel like outsiders, even if there are dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of other fellow students around. No one should be left outside this community and we want to work for ensuring that. Listen, talk, and give your fellow students a chance to join in. We live together this golden phase of life and we have opportunity to make it memorable.
Let`s have fun together this fall!
Chair of Executive Board
Student Union of the University of Turku